Squire Creek Wall - Illusion Wall - Excalibur III 5.10+Date:
For us weekend warriors, this climbing season was tough to get much done. Fortunately, October graced us with some real nice sunny weekends and I managed to complete another project on the Illusion Wall of Squire Creek. So last Sunday I rounded up a couple of agreeable climbing teams to go climb it with the idea of doing a photo shoot as well. The location of the route and the climb itself makes it very photogenic, particularly if you can get to the side to take pictures. So with two climbing teams I had the lead team fix a line for me to jug on and I was free to take pictures as I pleased. I think I got some good ones. I hope you'll agree.
The route has essentially 10 pitches, but pitch two is basically a third class scramble. The tenth pitch is a lower angle somewhat dirty pitch that will get you to the top if you want. We rapped from the top of the nineth. The rest however, are very nice, moderatly sustained pitches on excellent stone in a beautiful setting. All belays have nice ledges with bolted anchors. Rappel the route for the desent using only the anchors with chain links. Some of the pitches are short (for good reason), allowing you to combine a couple of pitches with 60 meter ropes on the way down.
Brandon leading out pitch one that starts from the left side of the base and follows nine bolts to reach a ledge system that traverses clear across the entire bottom of the face 5.8
Brandon leading out on pitch three 5.10+. This is where the route really begins.
Eric leading up the corner (5.9) of pitch three
Brandon following pitch four 5.10+ The only pitch with all bolts. All the rest are a mix of gear and bolts.
Dave belaying Eric on pitch four
Darryl following pitch five 5.9+. Now we're getting steep! This pitch takes you up to the anchor just right of the "Excalibur flake"
Eric heading out on pitch five.
Eric looking good on pitch five. The other route "The Holy Grail" goes up the skyline in the background.
David following pitch five.
Darryl heading out on the signature pitch of the climb, pitch six 5.9
David takes his turn on the flake with Eric drooling in the background.
David heads up the other side of the flake to join Darryl at the belay. Short pitch, but necessary to keep things from getting out of hand.
Darryl following Brandon up pitch seven 5.10-
Eric finishing his lead of pitch seven.
David working hard on the tiny finger crack of pitch eight 5.10+
Pitch eight has a short right hand traverse that gets you into some pretty high exposure.
David chalking up for the crux of pitch eight. Jumbo Peak in the background.
Pitch nine has an awesome corner that looks a lot harder than it is. Can you believe only 5.9?
Eric at the top of the corner, pitch nine.
From the corner a few face moves get you to the final flake for the top of pitch nine.
Big thanks to my lead team Brandon & Darryl for fixing the jug line.
How about a round of applause to the modeling team of Eric & David. Thanks guys, for all your patience.
As you can see it was a picture perfect day and a good time was had by all. So if you really like clean rock and aren't afraid to hike for it the Illusion Wall is definitely worth a tripGear Notes:
All pitches except pitch four require some gear mixed in with bolts. Take a good selection of gear up to 3" with emphasis in the 3/4" range. 15 quick draws with a couple of longer runners should do.Approach Notes:
The approach to Illusion Wall, which is a sub-wall of the Squire Creek Wall monolith, is nicely detailed in Whitelaw's new edition of Darrington Rock - "Rattle & Slime"